It’s easy to get caught up in the typical when it comes to the sport of boxing. Fans and members of the media, including myself, are guilty of forecasting results due to status quo — the fastest guy will win, output always beats defense. We tend to gather the idea that in a competitive bout the “boxer” comes out on top over the “puncher” and to the extension on that point we’re adept to believe the skill set for “boxers.”
We’ve seen slicksters from Willie Pep to Pernell Whitaker. These “boxing” type fighters are fleet-footed, quick-handed, have timing and ring generalship. They are the glory boys compared to a power-punching plodder like Jake Lamotta, Sonny Liston and Marvelous Marvin Hagler, who sought the same admiration with their styles.
Fans and pugilist alike will always have their own preference when it comes to these styles, and while power punchers are almost
always a fan favorite, it’s not appreciated in terms of skill by fans of the sweet science. “Any animal can just go in there and swing his arms” is a common saying for these types of fighters, suggesting that power punchers’ success is based off luck.
Today, no one receives this criticism more than IBF, IBO and WBA middleweight champion Gennady “Triple G” Golovkin who will be looking to display his skills against Dominic Wade April 23 at The Forum in Los Angles, California live on HBO. Many predict this fight is just a lamb to the slaughter, but Golovkin seems to serve a response to his critics in each fight.
Wade himself was a critic to Golovkin, stating in a Fighthype interview, that “He is no monster” and “there are no special effects” in Golovkin’s abilities. Wade was echoing statements from Floyd Mayweather, who iterated that he could beat Golovkin if he were to come back from retirement. It’s understandable from Wade’s standpoint due to the fact that he is the underdog in this fight and needs a foundation for his confidence. But from a man who claims to be retired and says he’ll never miss the sport, seems to be another spotlight sabotage of today’s boxing stars.
Still, it seems as if there’s more on the surface to what Golovkin does on the ring than we give him credit for. I, myself was guilty into labeling Golovkin nothing more than a power puncher, but when you have over 20 straight KOs it’s more than luck. But what is it exactly that he does so well? For one, the pressure he applies is second to none. This can be credited to his footing. Even if it seems flat, he creates a position and distance where engagement is necessary. Under this pressure it’s almost demanded to throw back and heavily. But this is when Golovkin can pick you off in between the punches.
In the act of cornering a fighter he will lead you to one direction then forces your guard on one side to land his power punches on the other. Exhibit A: Curtis Stevens. In what many believed was Golovkin’s toughest test, Stevens fought soundly with combinations and power. In the meantime, he stayed on the outside until Golovkin gets caught coming in. What Golovkin did several times throughout the fight was give Stevens a beating when he got close to the ropes. He did this by letting Stevens lead himself to Golovkin’s left (like you’re supposed to do with right-handed fighters) then gauge the distance with a jab and hook off it, which leads Stevens to get hit or slip to his left where Golovkin has a loaded right hand waiting for him. It’s for this reason Golovkin makes up with a lack of speed.
Against David Lemiuex, the perception was that we were going to see a brawl between two power punches. Instead it turned out to be a dominating showcase of “boxing” skill he had not shown before. His jab at times was thudding Lemuiex’s head the way right hands would. And though the jab alone was discouraging David, he had total control of measuring the range of the bull-rushing Canadian with combinations. With Lemiuex gradually wilting at the hands of Triple G, the inevitable KO came in the eighth round.
Dominic Wade feels confident enough in his skills saying, “I’m ‘a go in there in shape, and I’m ‘a handle my business. And I’m ‘a do everything I got to do,” in a recent interview with FightHype.com. He also blames the fear in past opponents as to why Golovkin looks as good as he does in his fights. This criticism is very much valid in some cases, but what other fights also failed to do against Golovkin is to go in and stick to a game plan. It’s important for Wade that he has a full intention in preparation for this fight. He subtly eludes to possibly ‘figuring out’ Golovkin once the bell rings, this would be a terrible mistake. Just Ask David Lemieux.
Golovkin doesn’t have dazzling hand speed or the flashy footwork but what he does in the ring is extremely effective, and that by itself is the dazzle and flash.